WKU student named 2017 Miss Kentucky

Rebekah Alvey

A WKU junior was crowned the new 2017 Miss Kentucky Saturday night at the University of Kentucky’s Singletary Center for the Arts in Lexington.

Molly Matney, who was Miss Mammoth Cave Area, was selected out of 30 contestants from around the state for the title. She will spend the upcoming year as a full-time employee of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and a sponsor for Kentucky Proud.

For the pageant, all contestants live on UK’s campus for the week preceding Saturday’s final competition and complete volunteer work and make appearances throughout the city. The contestants were judged in categories such as talent, evening gown, interview and swimsuits. For the talent portion, Matney sang “Oh! Darling” by the Beatles.

Matney began her career in pageants when she was 16 years old. This was Matney’s second year participating in the Miss Kentucky pageant and last year she made it to the top 10.

Each contestant has a platform she discusses during an interview with the judges. Matney’s platform throughout her year as Miss Kentucky will involve promoting agriculture and buying local, healthy produce.

After growing up on a farm in Metcalfe County, Matney said picking her platform was a “no brainer.” She said her platform was unique and intrigued the judges.

Matney said everyone was involved with agriculture where she grew up, so it was normal for her. When she encountered people outside the county, she realized how her lifestyle was different from most.

Over the next year, Matney will travel across the state attending events. Matney said she has never been to the eastern part of the state and is excited to explore. She said she is especially excited to visit elementary schools.

“I love little kids,” Matney said. “They have the funniest questions.”

For now, Matney is preparing for the Miss America pageant in September by attending bi-weekly vocal lessons, working out and picking a wardrobe for the competition. Matney said she remembers watching the pageant on TV and competing has always been a “huge dream.”

Matney said she hopes to make friends across the country while at the pageant while enjoying the experience and not stressing.

With her new title and job, Matney will take a year off school but plans to return next year and graduate in 2020 from WKU. When she returns, Matney said, she wants to get more girls involved with the pageant and share her knowledge and experience with the WKU agriculture department.

Reporter Rebekah Alvey can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected].